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Physicists have made the first atomic X-ray laser


Physicists have made the world’s first atomic X-ray laser. Research article appeared in the journal Nature, and its summary results ScienceNOW.
Diagram of a conventional laser is as follows: between two mirrors – translucent and opaque – is an active medium (which can be a gas, liquid, solid). With the help of a process – for example, by an electric discharge in gas lasers – are pumping energy environment. After that, in an environment like an avalanche occurs radiation as a photon cause atoms to emit more photons. Part of the radiation is trapped between the mirrors to sustain the process, and part comes in the form of a laser beam.

By this method were obtained for various types of lasers, however, X-rays, lasers get failed. In the new work, scientists for the first time were able to do it. The active medium acted neon gas, and to pump a laser LCLS.


Source of coherent light produced by a linear accelerator, (Linac Coherent Light Source, or LCLS) with a wavelength of 0.15 nm earned back in 2009, becoming the world’s first X-ray laser (at least in civilian, not military laboratories) with such a small wavelength. It is a source of X-rays beams of electrons from 3-km linear accelerator SLAC, passing through the undulate are devices that generate an alternating magnetic field.

In such a system to control the characteristics of the beam at the output is difficult. For example, some of the LCLS beam parameters were obtained experimentally only in September 2011. Then the scientists were able to calculate the spatial and temporal coherence of the beam. One of the advantages of the new laser is the ability to control many parameters, which was not at LCLS.